Future of the Federal Estate Tax

While no one can predict the future, the possibility of tax reform is once again in the spotlight. If it occurs, it may very well include repeal of the federal estate tax and related changes to the federal gift tax, the federal generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax, and the federal income tax basis rules. History of …

Alternatives To Long-Term Care Insurance

The costs of long-term care can be overwhelming, potentially exhausting retirement income and savings. You may be thinking about buying long-term care insurance (LTCI) to help cover some of the potential costs of long-term care, but LTCI can be expensive, and if you do buy the coverage, you probably hope you never have to use …

Do I need to file a gift tax return?

If you transfer money or property to anyone in any year without receiving something of at least equal value in return, you may need to file a federal gift tax return (Form 709) by the April tax filing deadline. If you live in one of the few states that also impose a gift tax, you …

What is a Funeral Trust and a Pet Trust?

Funeral Trust A funeral trust is an arrangement entered into with a provider of funeral or burial services. Prepaying funeral expenses may allow you to “lock in” costs for future funeral or burial services at an agreed-upon price. The funeral home sometimes serves as trustee (manager of trust assets), and you usually fund the trust …

Five Things to Know About Inherited IRAs

When an IRA owner dies, the IRA proceeds are payable to the named beneficiary–or to the owner’s estate if no beneficiary is named. If you’ve been designated as the beneficiary of a traditional or Roth IRA, it’s important that you understand the special rules that apply to “inherited IRAs.” It’s not really “your” IRA As …

Can I name a charity as beneficiary of my IRA?

Yes, you can name a charity as beneficiary of your IRA, but be sure to understand the advantages and disadvantages. Generally, a spouse, child, or other individual you designate as beneficiary of a traditional IRA must pay federal income tax on any distribution received from the IRA after your death. By contrast, if you name …

Avoiding Probate: Is It Worth It?

When you die, your estate goes through a process that manages, settles, and distributes your property according to the terms of your will. This process is governed by state law and is called probate. Probate proceedings fall under the jurisdiction of the probate court (also called the Surrogate’s, Orphans’, or Chancery court) of the state …

What You Should Know about Inherited IRAs

The rules governing inherited IRAs can be complicated. Here are the major issues. Transferring inherited IRA assets If you inherit an IRA from someone who isn’t your spouse, your options are fairly limited. You can’t roll the proceeds over to your own IRA, treat the IRA as your own, or make any additional contributions to …